A drive north along Ontario highways 400 and 11 to Huntsville brought back memories of the mid 1980s when I worked at Deerhurst Inn for a summer.
My friend Brian Ayres (RIP) had taken a job as Deerhurst Entertainment Director and asked if I would join him. Working in the capacity of Corporate Marketing and Public Relations, my job was to promote the conference facilities and newly launched timeshare condos. I had experience in planning executive and management programs. In the early 1980’s, I was Director of Training and Development for a fast-growing retail pharmacy cooperative. The company had just won the first Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award in London Ontario and it was runner up for the Ontario Business Achievement Award. Big V was unique in that it was owned by the employees. In fact, some of us made more money in share dividends than we earned in salary. Our main strategy for growth hinged on our 23 part in-house manager training programs that were developed using the case study method. I also felt comfortable in Downtown Toronto where I had previously worked as a Corporate Fund Raiser. I was a good fit for the job as described to me.
The work at Deerhurst would require a relocation with frequent business trips to Toronto. I signed a six month contract before I made a permanent move up north. In July and August I took my 11 year old son to check out accommodations.
My son was ill from the time he arrived. In fact, we had to leave early. His health crisis made me realize I needed to be around his specialist (allergies/asthma) and my family. All I knew was that I wanted to be HOME and home was Southwestern Ontario.
However, I can easily understand why so many people are in love with North.